The word sounds complex, but it is really quite straightforward. If you are experiencing ringing or other sounds in one or both of your ears, then you are suffering from Tinnitus. This condition affects 15% to 20% of people and is most common in the elderly.

Tinnitus is generally caused by age-related loss of hearing, an ear injury, or even a problem with your circulatory system. Thus, the condition improves when the underlying cause is treated, or when treatment is administered to make the condition less noticeable.

Tinnitus manifests as a ringing in the ears, but can also cause other types of noises that are audible only to the person suffering from this condition. The sounds include buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, and humming. In some rare cases, Tinnitus may manifest as a rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sound. These sounds may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, in one or both ears. The sounds may at times become so intense that you may not be able to hear external sounds. If the sounds occur in time with your heartbeat, it is called Pulsatile Tinnitus.

Tinnitus can sometimes be secondary to a major pathology of the skullbase such as Skullbase Paraganglioma, Cerebello-pontine angle tumors, Peteous Bone Cholesteatoma or other temporal bone lesions, abnormal middle ear conditions, inner ear tumors or abnormalities, spasm of the skullbase muscles or ear muscles or neck muscles, cervical spondylosis or tinnitus when associated with giddiness needs a thorough evaluation by an experienced otologist and skullbase surgeon.

It is important to know when to seek medical advice if you are suffering from Tinnitus. Some people are not bothered by the condition, while others are. Seek medical help if you develop Tinnitus after an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, and your Tinnitus doesn’t improve within a week. Medical intervention is also advised if your Tinnitus is causing hearing loss, dizziness, anxiety, and depression.

Tinnitus can afflict anyone, but the possibility of suffering from this ailment can be increased by certain factors. These include exposure to loud noises, age, tobacco and alcohol use, and certain health problems like obesity, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, a history of arthritis or a head injury.

Determining the cause of your Tinnitus is a crucial step towards zeroing in on the best mode of treatment. A doctor can ascertain if there is an underlying cause, and then address the problem with medication or surgery.

Dr. Ananth Chintapalli

Fellow in Skull Base Surgery
Consultant ENT & Skull Base Surgeon,
Star Hospitals

For Appointments, Call: 040 4477 7700